Review of Business in a Box: PayPal, WooCommerce and Xero Bundled to Relieve Decision-making, Not Compete With Shopify
PayPal partnered with WooCommerce and Xero for a new small business ecommerce toolset, Business in a Box.
PayPal and WooCommerce are both eager to claim a share of the rising number of small businesses who are launching online that Shopify has already done so well to serve.
With managed hosting, a free SSL certificate, and integration with Xero accounting software, this reads as a pretty nice combination for new store owners that want to get online with as little hassle as possible. But if you’re expecting an experience like Shopify, you’ll be quite disappointed.
At this point, this is essentially a bundle offer (not a SaaS platform) for some good products (that are already free to install) and does little to ease the pain of launching a store more than what WooCommerce is already set up to do.
What it does help with is avoiding “analysis paralysis” when choosing your ecommerce stack. A common pain point for business owners who want to get online is having to:
- Choose a shopping cart platform
- Choose a payment gateway
- Find hosting and registering an SSL certificate
- Integrate the store with their accounting solution
With Pressable hosting as the bundled host, you are also able to get WordPress and WooCommerce preinstalled for you, which is certainly a nice feature for anyone who doesn’t want to mess with getting a WP install in place.
Business in a Box is really about creating less choices – which can absolutely be a big hurdle for those new to ecommerce. But that’s it. Where Shopify has made the process of launching a store very easy, Business in a Box is not set up to compete in that space.
You still have to register individually with each account. You have to create a business account with PayPal. You have to pick a reliable and well-built WordPress theme and customize it (WooCommerce’s Storefront theme is a good option here). Then you have to install and configure the WooCommerce plugin as well as the many extensions you need (including Xero and PayPal).
All of this is still the burden of the store owner to get done.
To be quite clear, this is not an unreasonable amount of work for creating an online store for your business, especially if WooCommerce is a good fit. In the end, it takes time and resources to sell online.
I’d also argue that weighing the options for your platform is an important step for any ecommerce business that shouldn’t be bypassed just to get online quickly.
What hasn’t been communicated very well with the launch of Business in a Box is the advantage of using these particular tools as your ecommerce stack. WooCommerce has a distinct advantage over other platforms like Shopify, because it provides more flexibility in extending the platform and more ownership of the code that runs your store and checkout experience. You also get the many benefits of building on the WordPress CMS.
Xero has gained popularity because it simplifies accounting for small businesses who would otherwise get bogged down in the complexity of QuickBooks.
These are important details that store owners should be aware of and considering when choosing their platform.
In summary, I just don’t see what significant purpose that Business in a Box serves. If you need to get online as quickly and easily as possible, right now the choice is Shopify. But if you’re sold on using WordPress and WooCommerce, then what do you need Business in a Box for other than not having to consciously decide on your hosting, accounting and payment gateway solutions?
This is much more about PayPal staking an official partnership in the ecommerce space than it is about bringing a better solution to store owners.